IMPORTANT COLLECTION OF DIARIES (SOME AUTOGRAPH), AUTOGRAPH NOTEBOOKS AND BANK PASSBOOKS, ALL RELATING TO I. K. BRUNEL'S PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES, and comprising:
1. TWENTY-FIVE DIARIES, of which the volumes for 1833, 1834 (2), 1836 and 1844 (1 of 2) are in Brunel's hand, the others for the years 1842 (2), 1843, 1844 (1 of 2), 1845 (2) and 1846-59 in the hands of clerks, some entries written apparently to Brunel's dictation, and recording details of his work, appointments, meetings, expenses and travels.
(27 August 1833) "... BR [amended to GWR]. Attended Bd of Directors at Mr Gibbs -- I was appointed."
(23 October 1834) "... M[erthyr] & C[ardiff Railway]. Engaged in survey from 5 a.m. at Cardiff -- met Cubitt -- returned late -- 1 day.
Travelling all night -- ½ day."
(3 August 1844) "Taunton. 8 a.m. train to Tiverton Rd. Station. Posting to Tiverton &c. back to Rly Station.
11.35 to Exeter.
Engaged at Station with Mr Hammond, Mr Clarke &c. remainder of the day at the Old London Inn -- engaged with Mr Dymond -- Mr Glennie -- Harrison -- Froude & Brodie &c.
7.30 p.m. to Dawlish -- London Inn at 9.30."
(15 January 1847) "... Mr Brunel went to Bristol by the Express Train and met there Mr Miles by appnt. and Mr Hammond respecting the Portishead Pier & Rly ... Mr Chadwick called ... said he ... was quite prepared to go on with the Hungerford Bridge when the weather permitted, afraid his not seeing Mr Brunel before might appear neglectful ... returned from Bristol by the last train."
(7 June 1849) "South Wales: Mr Brunel saw Mr Stable at ½ past 10 a.m.
Engaged with Mr Brereton upon Drawings calculations &c.
Saw Mr Osler for a few minutes.
At 25 min to 11 engaged with Mr Duncan. Monsr. D'Eichtal & Mr F. Brown and until 10 min past 12 pm --
Vale of Neath Rly. Engaged with Mr B. W. Jones & Mr Humphreys respecting transfer of Edwards' Contract on the Vale of Neath Rly
Ox[ford] & Wor[cester and Wolverhampton Railway] and afterwards with Mr R. Varden
Went to Mr Robert Stephenson's at ½ past 2, returned to Duke St at 4 p.m. accompanied by Mr R. Stephenson, engaged upon Drawings. Chepstow Bridge &c.
Saw Sir F. Brown at ¼ to 5 pm
Left London by Mail Train for Worcester."
Written in diaries by Letts & Son, upwards of 3,700 pages plus blanks, 3 original printed boards, backed in morocco, 2 original cloth, backed in morocco (condition poor), 8vo; the remainder original cloth stamped in gilt, 4to (7) and 8vo (13), one damaged, some dampstained, not affecting text.
The entries made by Brunel himself are intermittent but those for the late 1840s and most of the 1850s are remarkably detailed and provide an extraordinary record of his industry, energy and application. (25)
2. SERIES OF 20 AUTOGRAPH NOTEBOOKS, the majority written in pencil and dated in ink in a later hand, comprising:
i. Early sketchbook with drawings and notes, including memorandum headed "[William] Jessops proposed line near the Warwick canal at Bordersley", written in pen and pencil, 20 pages plus blanks, ca. 1830, red morocco with clasp, 140 x 224 mm., oblong 8vo.
ii. Fifteen surveyor's notebooks, used by Brunel as aides-memoires, containing copious notes on bridges, canals, docks, railways and historic buildings, also mathematical equations, precise details of railway journeys including mechanical observations and weather conditions recorded in the train, notes of work to be done and letters to be written, interspersed with drawings throughout, (e.g. "St Fagan's ... Castle - w gd. window looking south"); Brunel's signature occurring in some volumes including that for 1838 ("written in Seym[our] Clarke's new carriage") and one, not dated, containing four signatures written "in Adams', posting carriage -- going 25. It certainly does shake",
written in pencil, approximately 900 pages plus blanks, some leaves removed, 1834-42 and n.d., one cloth, the others red or black morocco, ten with clasps, a little rubbed, some boards detached, circa 100 x 165 mm., oblong 8vo.
iii. Four surveyor's notebooks containing informal notes by Brunel, written in pen and pencil, 56 pages plus blanks, 1856 - February 1859 and n.d., morocco, 190 x 95 mm., 8vo, two with morocco slip-cases, two bindings and two slip-cases lettered in gilt "I.K. Brunel 18 Duke Street Westminster Pray return it" (20)
3. COLLECTION OF 13 BANK PASSBOOKS detailing Isambard Kingdom Brunel's personal and professional income and expenditure and giving a remarkable insight into his prosperity particularly during the period 1835-40: ten in account with Messrs. Drummond, September 1835 - December 1856 (incomplete, lacks entries for June 1844 - November 1847 and November 1848 - July 1852); two with West of England and South Wales District Bank, September 1835 - December 1844); one with Messrs. Vivian, September 1848 - July 1854, original vellum wrappers, 8vo. (13)